Don and I are out for a ride, driving around Grapevine lake, singing our song “Those days are gone forever. I should just let them go but…”
Somewhere inside my mind’s eye I hear an echo, “you have trouble saying goodbye” followed by the answer,”you only think I do. You haven’t seen how many I have let go of.”
There is a moment where I think of issuing the challenge, daring someone to jump and dance in the fire with me.
I am damn good at it, had ample practice and know exactly what I am thinking and where I am going, even if I don’t know exactly how to get there,
But I don’t throw down the gauntlet or issue any sort of challenge because that requires more vulnerability than I am willing to give at this moment.
It has to be earned.
Instead I close my eyes and wander in the garden and forest preparing myself to head for the caves. It is time to go spelunking and look at what lies beneath.
I Wonder If It Was A Dream
I reach out to an old friend and talk about what it is like to live without a father.
He has been doing it for far longer than I have but he tells me in some ways it feels like it happened yesterday.
It is the second or third time someone has said that to me in a week.
Last week others told me I made them cry, not because I intentionally hurt them but because I stirred up the ashes and warmed the fires of loss.
Time is a blur and and there are moments where I wonder if it was all a dream, moments where I rub my eyes and shake the sleep away.
Except nothing changes, dad is still dead and I am still…processing.
Sometimes I hear his voice reminding me to temper my edge.
“Be careful not to upset those who can’t stab themselves the way you can. There are softer folks around, don’t upset them unnecessarily. Find your quiet place.”
I haven’t told him that sometimes I wonder if I’ll forget the feel of that glare and the intensity behind it.
Sometimes I wonder if in 30 years I’ll think of it fondly but without the sort of immediate recognition that comes today.
It is hard to believe that could be. It is hard to believe that things could change like that, but not impossible.
The memories of the mad dash to DFW to fly back to LAX and the fight to get off the plane to the hospital lingers.
Did I drive 55 or 155?
Who can remember.
What I know is my oldest was in the hospital waiting room. He let me in because the place was locked up and then led me to dad’s room.
I can hear them say goodbye to each other knowing this was the last time. I want to look at dad and ask if he realized how good his grandson was.
“Dad, I know adults who couldn’t have been as graceful and mature as he was.”
But I don’t say anything, dad’s in way too much pain.
They are just starting the titration of Morphine. They are just starting to get his pain under control for this final journey.
I never thought it would be like this or that I would see such things, but life doesn’t care about what we want or expect.
Life just moves.
Who I Was Meets Who I Am
I don’t have to consciously pay attention to some people.
We are inextricably connected and whether it is by fate, shared experience astrological signs or coincidence I can’t say.
Conversation flows and if allowed can continue unabated forever.
But in other situations that is not true, I have to focus on what is said and who is saying it. I have to make an effort to respond because there is no connection.
Memory says there once was and that it was once strong but when who I was meets who I am memory doesn’t change what is.
It doesn’t stop me from recognizing the strain of connecting and that it doesn’t exist because of present circumstances.
Dad could be healthy and on track to live to a 120 and I would still be cognizant of having nothing to say.
Some are always on our mind and some are never.
Eventually I find my center and reconnect with quiet, purpose and intention. Eventually I convince myself to do as heart and head say and sleep comes with more ease.
But in the interim, it takes some doing. In the interim it feels a bit like my heart has been pulled out of my chest.
Fortunately it is tiny and black so the hole isn’t particularly large, but the sucking noise that comes with it, well that is a bit distracting.
I wonder if it all was a dream.